“Nazi” German, and American soldiers fighting….. side by side?

When we think of WW2, we think most commonly of plucky Brits and Yanks fighting against brutish Germans.  However the distinction should be made for the Germans; that there were the Wehrmacht, and the SS, the SS were the racially superior members of the “Master Race”, and were not wholly loved by the Wehrmacht, or the allied forces.   It was on May the 4th, that this tension between the Wehrmacht and the SS came to a head, with the Battle for Castle Itter.  The only recorded instance of the US army and the German army fighting side by side against the SS………

“Administratively, Itter was a subcamp of Dachau concentration camp; the castle’s detention conditions were, however, not comparable with those at Dachau. Itter’s prisoners were freed by units of the American 103rd Infantry Division of General Anthony McAuliffe on May 5, 1945. The next day, the American units fought alongside the German guards against attacking SS elements until reinforcements arrived, several hours after the end of the war”

http://ebookbrowse.com/battle-for-castle-itter-pdf-d47447087

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2323949/The-World-War-II-battle-Americans-Germans-fought-SAME-Incredible-true-story-fight-save-Austrian-castle-weeks-Hitler-committed-suicide.html

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Taking tea with the enemy……

Sergeant Thomas James Sevier MM, MSM 2/3rd South Midland Field Ambulance R.A.M.C. (T.F.)

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Seargent Sevier had an interesting war; he had served through the Battle of the Ancre winning a military medal for rescuing wounded men under heavy shell fire near Beaumont Hamel on the 16th of November 1917.   It is his post war service however that is most interesting, not much is noted about the Royal Army Medical Corps involvement in the North Russian campaigns in 1919, however the citation that Thomas receives show that the front was an interesting place to be….

“Meritorious Service Medal” awarded on the 30th September 1919 (Archangel Command, Russia), for:

“This N.C.O has performed meritorious service in the DVINA force. Practically the whole time he has been the senior N.C.O. in the forward hospital at TOULGAS. On one occasion when the hospital was captured by the enemy, by his presence of mind, in remaining with the patients, he protected them when threatened, and persuaded the enemy to sit down to tea, until the village was recaptured.”

It does make you think that this must have been an absurd sight to see Bolshevik forces drinking tea with a British Sergeant and wounded men….

The town of Toulgas, was fought over fiercely by British and American troops and was taken and recaptured several times during 1919, with rumours abounding of Leon Trotsky even being present with troops.   The hospital was situated at the North end of Toulgas was near the Dvina river, and only 200 miles from Archangel.

For information on the battles at Toulgas:

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/2/2/5/2/22523/22523.txt

Video of Toulgas and troops:

http://www3.nfb.ca/ww1/postwar-film.php?id=538504

 

UPDATE:

Whilst digging through my record boxes, I found the original personal commendation for bravery presented to Thomas Sevier by the Major-General, officer commanding of the 61st (South Midland) Division.

 

It says:

 

This parchment has been awarded to no. 439298

Sergeant Thomas James Sevier 2/3rd South Midland Field Ambulance R.A.M.C. (T.F.)

In recognition of the act of gallantry that he performed on 8th December 1917 near Viliers Plough.

During the day the shellfire was so severe that the wounded in the dressing station (Charing Cross S.W. of Beaucamp) had to be moved on five occasions.  This was done under very heavy shell fire.  Owing to the personal courage of this N.C.O. the transference of these cases was effected without further casualties.

On another occasion this Sergeant was blown over by a shell whilst assisting Ptes. HISCOCK and WILSON to carry in some wounded lying outside the advanced dressing station at Charing Cross.

This certificate issued in appreciation of the act, but does not entitle or qualify the recipient to any reward, extra emolument or pension.

 

Signed Major – General,

Comdg 61st (South Midland) Division.